The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Coping with Injuries

Student athletes share their experience recovering from injuries
Photo used with permission from Victoria Woo
Chloe Chen (left) posing for a picture with Victoria Woo (right) during media day.

Sophomore Victoria Woo sprawls on her living room couch, her hands caught in a tangle of yarn and crochet hooks. The repetitive crocheting patterns aren’t like the fast-paced games of volleyball she’s used to, but Woo is strangely captivated by the task. It will be hours before her blanket is even close to finished, but Woo has had plenty of free time after her injury. A few months earlier, she never could have imagined that she enjoyed crocheting — or that her sophomore volleyball career would be over before August.

In mid-July, Woo was preparing for volleyball tryouts for both her club volleyball team and the MVHS team. The year prior, she had played on the Junior Varsity team and was moved up to the Varsity team during the postseason. As a part of her preparation, she began training at a local open gym. During one practice, she jumped up to hit the ball and landed badly, resulting in a torn ACL and meniscus. 

“When I first got injured, I just laid on the floor,” Woo said. “I didn’t really want to cry in front of everyone. But once I got off the court, I started crying because I realized that I couldn’t play volleyball anymore.” 

According to sophomore Rocco Ling, being unable to play, especially when an athlete can spend well over eight hours a week on their sport, is “a huge blow to any athlete.” Ling plays both volleyball and football. Due to the high-risk nature of football, Ling undergoes specific training routines to help minimize the chance of injury. However, he still frequently gets injured, and as a result of the long recovery time, Ling often finds himself on the sidelines during games or practices.

Ling has cramps during a football game. (Photo courtesy of Rocco Ling. )

“When I can’t play, I feel empty inside,” Ling said. “Sports is a big passion of mine so when I can’t participate, I feel disconnected.”

For Woo, Volleyball has provided a community, so it is not only a way she stays active, it’s also an activity that connects her with her friends. Woo even coaches elementary-aged students on the basics of volleyball with her close friend and teammate, sophomore Chloe Chen. Because of their friendship, Chen was one of the first people to learn about Woo’s injury. Coincidentally, Chen was injured with a fractured ankle at the time, and as a result of her inability to practice, was worried about falling behind. 

“I felt like everyone around me was getting better and improving,” Chen said. “I was scared that when I came back, I wouldn’t get any playtime and I would suck. I was upset because I was watching all these other people play and I couldn’t play. But then since Victoria was there with me, we could talk and we were in charge of the cheers for the team. We would find things to do on the sideline to support the team.” 

Woo attended every team practice despite her inability to participate. Woo and Chen recall that being injured together made their time on the bench more interesting. Even after Chen recovered from her injury, Woo continued cheering on the sidelines for her team and preparing music during practices.

Although Chen quickly recovered from her injury, she still found herself benched during games. It was only after Chen practiced volleyball for hours three to four times a week outside of school that she managed to return to her previous skill level. Woo’s recovery process and return to volleyball will take far longer than Chen’s. According to the Cleveland Clinic, ACL injuries take an average of six to nine months to recover from.

“Through the injury, you suffer from muscle loss,” Woo said. “I was on crutches for a month. From there, you have to do a whole bunch of workouts and physical therapy twice a week and then they do these strength tests. Then once you’re at 90% strength again, you’re allowed to start playing.”

During volleyball season, Woo would often spend over eight hours a week on volleyball, leaving little time for other hobbies. However, ever since her injury, Woo has had the opportunity to try a plethora of other activities. Besides crocheting, Woo now also enjoys playing the piano, an activity she once found boring and unpleasant. Although Woo can’t wait until she can return to the volleyball court, she says she’s grateful for the time she’s had to explore other hobbies,  and will happily continue her various crocheting projects in the meantime.

“All my life before the injury was just volleyball,” Woo said. “It was just straight volleyball year round. I didn’t have time for anything else. With this injury, I have a lot more time to do new things and experience some things that I really never would have been able to do if I kept playing.”




About the Contributor
Liz Liu
Liz Liu, Staff Writer
Liz Liu is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, cooking, and watching her pet gecko.
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